Patients were given special ACGME surveys that focused specifically on the new intern who provided their care, and all of the emotions relating to that experience. New interns were given similar surveys to tease out their personal experiences interacting with their patients.
“Terrified, absolutely terrified,” wrote one patient after his encounter with a July 1st intern. “I had come into the hospital short of breath. After I met the intern taking care of me, I developed chest pain, palpitations, diaphoresis, and nausea. Her uneasiness made me uneasy. Not a great feeling when you’re feeling vulnerable.” This short statement captured the feeling of all patients who completed the survey.
Interestingly enough, the interns comments on patients carried the same concerns. “Terrified, absolutely terrified,” wrote one intern after her encounter with a July 1st patient. “He had come in short of breath and it was like I forgot everything I learned in medical school. I drew a blank. I didn’t even know where to begin. And I could see that the patient was losing confidence in me… Man, that sucked. He even become more symptomatic. Chest pain, palpitations, nausea, the whole deal.”
When both groups were asked how to rectify the problem, patients unanimously requested the assistance of “confident, knowledgeable, supervising doctors.” As for the interns, they agreed. “We need the assistance of some confident, knowledgeable, supervising doctors. We’re just interns for heaven’s sake! We don’t know jack!”